Our flight from Tanzania to India included a day layover in Dubai. What a culture shock!
Everything is new and clean and modern. After our adventures in Tanzania, it was just what the doctor ordered. The airport is immense, sparkling clean, and opulent – quite different from the airport in Arusha. Our budget hotel had power 24×7, didn’t require mosquito nets, and had wi-fi in the room! With only one day available to us we decided we to start at the Emirates Mall that we knew from watching the Amazing Race TV show – it has an indoor ski resort!
The mall visit ended up taking most of the day. Normally I would be the one doing my best to limit time in a mall, but in this case it just felt so decadent to shop, buy things with credit cards (instead of cash), and not have to bargain for the price. We restocked our provisions of toiletries at Boots, bought mosquito repellant at a sporting goods store, found a pair of leggings for Alex, and I picked up some discs to back up our photos. I was finally able to replenish our emergency supply of US dollars for our money belts at a currency exchange shop. But the best part was the food court! We each picked our favorite fast food and indulged. Alex dug into a Mexican burrito. Patrick scarfed Papa John’s pizza. I went for a Burger King vanilla shake. Inexplicably Suzanne chose Indian food.
Of course we had to visit Ski Dubai at the other end of the mall. It is amazing that they have snow in a place where it is so hot. The night we landed it was 85 degrees F at midnight when we stepped off our plane. The kids wanted to go in and play in the snow, but it is a pricy place to have a snowball fight – and Suzanne and I still wanted to see something of Dubai besides the mall before sundown. We rode the super modern light rail train from the mall and were a bit surprised that one of the train cars was segregated for women and children. I stood in the next car to keep a close eye on the family and make sure we got off at the same stop. The four of us briefly walked around the harbor area, Alex complained the whole time about how much we make her walk. The buildings are unique; they look new and each one attempts to be a work of art. As the sun set, we climbed on the train and headed back to our wonderfully comfortable beds. We didn’t get a chance to visit the historical areas of Dubai, so we have an excuse to visit again.